Sergeant Bertrand by Aleksandr Skorobogatov in quotes


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‘A thrilling novel about guilt and atonement.’ – De Volkskrant****

‘Sergeant Bertrand is an exceptionally fascinating and accomplished novel that skillfully intertwines reality, dream, delirium and madness.’ – KnackFocus*****

‘It has been many years since such an original work found its way from Russia to this country. Skorobogatov writes exceptionally well. I read Sergeant Bertrand in one sitting, and after I had finished it, it continued to hold me in its grip. It is an impressive debut that whets the reader’s appetite for more to come.’ – NRC Handelsblad

‘Skorobogatov tells his tale from within the madness of his main character. What is truth and what is only taking place in the head of Nikolaj? The short, feverish chapters carry you away. Nikolaj is caught up in his jealousy and the reader is caught with him.’  – i.a. Haarlems Dagblad, Leidsch Dagblad and Noordhollands Dagblad****

‘Skorobogatov intertwines sexual obsession, jealousy, fear, aggression and the drive to abandonment with one another, in a work that has strong undertones of the French writer-philosopher Georges Bataille; a dark book that plays with the tempting and at the same time repulsive connection between the erotic and violence, love and hate, reality and nightmare.’ – Trouw

‘Sergeant Bertrand is a breathtaking book, written in the sober prose that is neccessary for writing a tale about the logic of madness.’ – Dagblad van het Noorden

’A great Russian novel where the hero is a husband tortured by the demons of jealousy. With this beautiful tragic novel, Skorobogatov has carved a place for himself in the grand Russian tradition.’ – Le Figaro

“Timeless and worth all attention.” – Nederlands Dagbad

“Sergeant Bertrand is a sober, subtle and at the same time raw and overwhelming novel that deserves to be read,” – MappaLibri

’Skorobogatov is considered as one of the most interesting authors of post-communist Russia.’ – De Standaard der Letteren

’Aleksandr Skorobogatov is being praised in Moscow and in the West as an absolute discovery.’ – De Morgen

’Every now and then, albeit very rarely indeed, a novel or story by a totally unknown author gives a glimpse of unexpected genius. The surprise is so great, in fact, that you are compelled to read the work a second time, but now with the clear insight of the initiate. The novel “Sergeant Bertrand” by the Russian writer Aleksandr Skorobogatov is one of these rare, truly impressive achievements.’ – Gazet van Antwerpen

’Unmatched, timeless mastery.’ – Athens Voice

’In the first place, Skorobogatov wrote a beautiful, almost classic study.’ – Knack

’Bij de lectuur ervan moest ik soms terugdenken aan het verhaal Dagboek van een krankzinnige van Nikolaj Gogol. Mooi toch hoe in beide gevallen het verhaal even delirisch ontspoort, met of zonder religieuze achtergrond. Gogol dus en misschien zelfs in sommige laconiek wreed aardige details een zweem van De geverfde vogel van Jerzy Kosinski.’ – De Morgen

’Astounding literary debut.’ – Gonzo Circus

’The previous year, ‘Sergeant Bertrand’ received an important award, and the author became a rising star at the literary firmament.’ – Gazet van Antwerpen

’When you start reading Sergeant Bertrand you understand why it won this prize. It is a fascinating story that immediately grabs you by the throat (and quite honestly, by other parts of your anatomy) and doesn’t let go. The style is very laconic and pointillistic without the clutter of unnecessary details. As in minimalist music, the recurring elements heighten the reader’s apprehension. And this makes the story extremely forceful. The author manages to captivate his reader with a story that is both malicious and voyeuristic. The reader almost becomes an accessory to the fatal ending.’ – Het Laatste Nieuws

’What he shows with this story is that decades of censorship and social-realistic literature are not sufficient to definitively exterminate individual strength of mind. There is still hope for the Russians.’ – Algemeen Dagblad

’A novel that reads as a terrifying vision and mystifies you as a David Lynch film. Great literature, great author.’ – Focus Knack

’This is absolutely unique in Russian literature in general, and especially so in recent years.’ – Het Laatste Nieuws

’A Russian Edgar Allan Poe story, written in a sublime and breathtaking way.’ – Lektuurgids

’This story would make an incredible film with an atmosphere worthy of a Polanski.’ – Het Laatste Nieuws

’This novel is in all respects one of the most astonishing books I have read.’ – Gierik/NVT

’Of Russian origin, Aleksandr Skorobogatov has written what could become a modern Horla.’ – Page des Libraires

’This fascinating internal monologue evokes the absurd of the best Eastern European writers. A dark masterpiece of the absurd.’ – Femina Magazine

’When we talk about wife abuse, we think straightaway about Afghanistan, Thailand, Somalia. But what about Russian women? Just Google “Russian women” and you will find that, like their Asian or African sisters, women from Russia and Eastern European countries in general are considered as docile objects to be manipulated. In his first novel translated into French, Aleksandr Skorobogatov describes the every day life of Vera, who is married to a pathologically jealous alcoholic. The author describes the destructive feeling reinforced by alcohol with heart rending realism and brutality. (…) But behind this story of jealousy and a submissive woman lurks a critique of the Soviet era. (…) A rather detached novel, with poignant characters, that shows a small part of the Soviet reality rarely mentioned.’ – Le Nouvel Observateur

’Aleksandr Skorobogatov has set up a subtle immersion in his hero’s deliriums, leaving the reader a few short breaths of air from time to time. Just to touch the fragile frontier between the reality that escapes Nikolai and the images that he creates that shout out they are true. The narrative goes through the hero’s and the narrator’s hands, muddling their voices.’ – Matricule des Anges

’You read Skorobogatov in one befuddled breath.’ – Nieuw Vlaams Tijdschrift

’In short, Mr Skorobogatov is a stellar talent, one to keep an eye out for.’ – Het Laatste Nieuws

’It would be a lot easier if his name was simply Smith or so, but this is unfortunately not the case: Aleksandr Skorobogatov is a name to remember.’ – Gazet van Antwerpen

1 Response

  1. August 18, 2016

    […] weet dat sensualiteit en vurige passie ook steeds een hoofdrol spelen. Skorobogatovs debuut “Sergeant Bertrand” kreeg een hoge literaire prijs en de niet-gecensureerde Nederlandse vertaling werd recent […]